Tall Men Trace Their Genes To Paleolithic Mammoth Hunters
Tall men are found, on average, in countries like the Netherlands, Croatia, Montenegro, and Bosnia and Herzegovina. Now, according to some new research, these men who often grow to six feet tall can trace their genetic legacy, to some degree, to the Upper Paleolithic Gravettian culture.The study was published in the journal Royal Society Open Science, and the period in question dates to somewhere in between 50,000 and 10,000 years ago.
“The Gravettian is the most important prehistoric culture of the Upper Paleolithic Europe and is sometimes called ‘the culture of mammoth hunters,’” lead author Pavel Grasgruber of Masaryk University told Seeker. “I suspect that this big game specialisation associated with a surplus of high-quality proteins and low population density created environmental conditions leading to the selection of exceptionally tall males.”
Archaeological remains from the period indicate that men stood at somewhere in between 5 feet 10 inches and 6 feet 2 inches tall on average, which was an exceptional size for that time period. By comparison, men belonging to the Maya culture in America, and who lived several thousand years later, measured only about 5.2 feet tall, whereas the Maya women were only about 4 feet tall.
For this study, Grasgruber made a survey over 3207 male individuals with ages of 17 to 20 from Bosnia and Herzegovina. Each of them had to fill in a basic questionnaire and had their measurements taken.
As mentioned before, nutrition and other environmental factors have a tremendous impact on the average height of a country’s population. In the Korean Peninsula, for instance, people living in the North are among the shortest, whereas their Southern counterparts are the tallest in that part of the world. But given Bosnia and Herzegovina’s relatively poor economic state, it is somewhat of a mystery for why its population is so tall. This is where genetics comes into play.